Lufthansa seen offering to pay 200 mln euros for Air Berlin assets

Lufthansa seen offering to pay 200 mln euros for Air Berlin assets”

The German government stepped in with a 150 million euro ($178 million) loan, due to last until the end of October, to prevent the airline being grounded so that talks could be held on selling its assets.

Soon after going into insolvency, Air Berlin revealed it was in discussions with three potential buyers, including Deutsche Lufthansa, as it looks to sell off its assets. Several companies have since made offers to acquire the airline or parts of it. Talks will run until Oct 12.

Customers are still buying tickets to fly with Germany's second-largest carrier, though longer-term bookings are all but non-existent, Air Berlin Chief Executive Officer Thomas Winkelmann said at a briefing in the German capital.

Its budget unit Eurowings on Monday extended a recruitment drive, saying it now had over 1,000 open positions, including for 300 pilots, 500 cabin crew and more than 200 ground staff jobs.

The source told Reuters that slots at Duesseldorf airport are among the assets that Lufthansa and easyJet both want. EasyJet is interested in areas including operations at Berlin Tegel airport.

Lufthansa last week said its main aim is to secure 38 aircraft and crews that it now leases from Air Berlin. Further timetable adjustments are imminent, the carrier said. It hopes the European Union will approve the carve-up by the end of the year. Air Berlin is also open to offers for its maintenance arm through October 6, Winkelmann said.

"Stable flight operations are a prerequisite for the successful completion of the forthcoming transactions and subsequent transfer into new ownership".

Flights between Dusseldorf and Los Angeles stopped running on Monday and services between Hamburg, Munich and Cologne/Bonn will be halted by Friday September 29.

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